|Rob Lowe as||Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn||Deputy Communications Director|
|Dulé Hill as||Charlie (Charles) Young||Personal Aide to the President|
|Allison Janney as||C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg||Press Secretary|
|Janel Moloney as||Donna (Donnatella) Moss||Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff|
|Richard Schiff as||Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler||Communications Director|
|John Spencer as||Leo Thomas McGarry||Chief of Staff|
|Bradley Whitford as||Josh (Joshua) Lyman||Deputy Chief of Staff|
Martin Sheen as
|Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet||President of the United States|
|Special Guest Stars|
|Stockard Channing as||Abbey (Abigail Ann) Bartlet M.D.||First Lady|
|Timothy Busfield as||Danny (Daniel) Concannon||(Washington Post) Reporter|
|Elisabeth Moss as||Zoey Patricia Bartlet||Bartlets' youngest daughter|
|Michael O'Neill as||Ron Butterfield||Head of POTUS' Secret Service detail|
|NiCole Robinson as||Margaret||Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
|Grace Zabriskie as||Isobel||C.J.'s former boss|
Allen Garfield as
|Roger Becker||Movie Producer|
|Peter White as||Mr. Gage||Jack (first name)|
|Ernie Lively as||Mr. Loch|
|Jody Wood as||Mr. Cameron|
|Melissa Fitzgerald as||Carol||Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
|Devika Parikh as||Bonnie||Communications' Aide|
|Sean Moran as||Dr. Holbrook|
|Garret Wright as||Skinhead||Carl Leroy|
|Penny Griego as||D.C. Anchor|
|Richard Saxton as||Boston Anchor||Alan|
|Warner Saunders as||Chicago Anchor|
|Kris Murphy as||Katie||Witt (last name) / Reporter|
|Randolph Brooks as||Arthur||Leeds (last name) / Reporter|
|Charles Noland as||Reporter||Steve|
|Laurie Hendler as||Lawyer||Ellen (first name from script)|
|Harris Mann as||Lawyer #2||Rick (first name from script)|
|Andy Brewster as||Isobel's Assistant|
|Chad McKnight as||Aide #5|
|Larry Carroll as||TV Announcer|
"Last week I decided I want to [do] a two-part episode, which would be a flashback showing how everyone came to be part of the campaign. It's a style of storytelling that really appeals to me. I think we're gonna do that a lot next year--have [those] two parallel things going. It's fraught with problems, not the least of which is we have one of the most expensive sets in television and we won't be able to use it at all in those episodes. But another problem is, how do you establish the vocabulary with the audience? How do I set up the rules with viewers that from time to time, this is going to happen and you shouldn't be upset by it?
"I just want to be able to write the moment when someone walks up to Martin Sheen and says, 'Sir, all three networks and CNN are calling and projecting you the winner.' Just to see what happens to his face when he realizes he's the President." - Aaron Sorkin
"Meet The Prez"
by Ken Tucker
February 25, 2000
Reality and TV fiction will collide again when, if all goes well, the show shoots at the Staples Center on Friday morning just before the Democratic National Convention platforms and podiums are torn down.
"It's taken about four months of deft maneuvering. We're very fortunate to have been given permission," producer Lew Wells said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." His brother, John, an executive producer, is superstitious even talking about it: "It may fall apart again. Logistically, it's extremely difficult to pull off. So many news organizations are using (the center), not just the Democrats."
Executive producer/writer Aaron Sorkin planned some time ago to use the convention to trigger the second season's first two episodes. This "prompts some introspection, takes us to some flashbacks, we see how our people got together on the campaign trail," says Lew Wells. "The culmination of that is the night before the acceptance speech. In the middle of the night, our group goes into the empty auditorium to contemplate what's in front of them. It's really wonderful."
"Political reality collides with TV fiction at this L.A. party"
by Jeannie Williams
August 20, 2000
Four months of "West Wing" planning went out the window. I reported Aug. 11 that the WB series for NBC was scheduled to move into the Staples Center to shoot a sequence with Martin Sheen immediately after the Demos departed.
Thursday, I called producer Llewellyn Wells to ask how the convention went. "We were gravely disappointed," he sadly told me. "We weren't able to overcome logistical problems, after four months of planning with the DNC."
He said the 20-plus media outlets in the luxury suites could not exit in time. "It wasn't the DNC's fault," Wells insisted; the media had separate deals with the Staples Center. ... Now Aaron Sorkin's busily writing a new setting ...
""West Wing" snafu; party for Hillary"
by Army Archerd
August 25, 2000
After three rehearsals and four filmed takes, "The West Wing" actors had their lines down pat. But the trio's footwork bothered director Thomas Schlamme.
He assessed the hotel room set, trying to find a way for the character played by John Spencer to slide over from a walking conversation with actor Rob Lowe to a standing one with Brad Whitford.
"You know what it is. It's because you've got to wait for (Lowe) to leave and it feels like that's the end of the scene. Switch sides, maybe," he said.
The pair entered the faux room again. Spencer, now on the outside when they turned, smoothly peeled off from Lowe, leaving him across from Whitford, who pivoted from a couch.
"Thank you very much. That's what it was," Schlamme said.
One problem was resolved, but many takes remained. Seven main characters and more than twice that many extras and crew members would have to get their lines, steps and camera-focuses in sync for the scene to work. A seven-hour shooting day had been set aside for one four-minute scene of the second-season political drama.
On the last Friday in July, the cast and crew were finishing their second week of fall shooting with a scene from the season-opening two-parter that will resolve last season's assassination attempt on President Bartlet (Martin Sheen).
The scene was in Stage 23, one of many huge beige hangars that dot the Warner Bros. property. Nearby is Stage 28, a replica of the White House interior that Washington insiders have compared favorably with the real thing.
The Stage 23 set, by contrast, was put together for just one day's shooting, a flashback sequence to the Illinois Democratic primary before Bartlet's election. A brace of numbered wooden planks from the outside, the set's interior was an intricate composition of striped wallpaper, hotel-like furniture, TVs running primary results and a room service cart with a half-eaten pizza slice and wilted salad. The Chicago skyline seen from the set's windows was actually a picture on a huge tarp hanging from rafters.
In Scene 2-21, which will be seen in the fall's second episode, Bartlet and Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (Spencer) argue about the wording of the primary victory speech as future first lady Abb[e]y Bartlet (Stockard Channing) stands nearby. Nearby, McGarry deputy Josh Lyman (Whitford) hears bad news about his father's health over the phone before joining the others.
Shooting didn't start that Friday until 4:30 p.m. (The previous day's work, which required outdoor night scenes, ended at 4a.m.) More than 20 actors and other crew members made last-minute preparations. Allison Janney, who plays press secretary C.J. [C]regg, spoke to Schlamme. He hugged her.
An assistant director gave instructions to two extras who were playing waiters. After Leo and deputy communications manager Sam Seaborn (Lowe) "walk through the door, we'll have you push the cart out," he said.
Others concentrated on the cue, "Rock Island." Once Sam and Leo mentioned that city, movement would start on- and off-camera.
"Stand by for rehearsal," the assistant shouted. A bell rang. "Guys, quiet, please. Here we go."
As action started, C.J. walked across the set, establishing her presence. Leo and Sam finished their walk-and-talk (as the actors call it) as Leo moved on to a discussion with Josh and Abb[e]y, punctuated by a fiery entrance from the future president.
It looked fine to an outsider, but those involved saw mistakes and considered adjustments. Spencer couldn't find his mark the first time, while Whitford tried to figure out the best way to get from the couch to the conversation.
During the takes, the set was full of action off-camera too. As Bartlet and Leo argued, a dolly grip - one of those odd job titles you see in credits - rolled a large camera forward to a tape mark, so the camera operator could get a close-up. Out of camera range, a sound man balancing on a chair hoisted a 10-foot boom microphone over Josh and Abb[e]y.
The sound man held the boom mike like a fishing pole above Whitford and Channing. Their characters, Josh and Abb[e]y, were having a serious conversation about how her candidate-husband was holding up.
"You can say it, you know," Abb[e]y said, trying to get Josh to discuss his concerns.
Whitford, who likes to joke, jumped at the ad-lib opportunity.
"You've got a hell of a rack, Mrs. Bartlet," he said, breaking character.
Spencer, seeing the take was history, joined in the fun.
"Fire him," his character, Leo, said. "Mr. President, did you hear what he said to your wife?"
The cast and crew broke up laughing. After many takes, the comic relief was welcome. Everyone knew they had time to get the scene just right - even if it took most of the night.
"'West Wing' talent garners 18 Emmy Awards"
by Bill Keveney
September 3, 2000
In the season premier, the victim(s) will be shown on their way to the hospital and inside the GW emergency room. Exterior shots, such as familiar Washington D.C. landmarks, are filmed here in D.C. Camera crews and actors will be in the city to film exterior shots of the GW Hospital on September 16th.
Interior scenes are filmed at Warner Brothers studio in California. To make the scenes authentic, producers have requested detailed information about GW Hospital for the writers, set designers, and costume designers. Hospital floor plans, photographs of staff uniforms, VIP policies and security policies have all been provided to create a set resembling GW Hospital
"Shooting Victim(s) Taken to GW Hospital in Season Premiere of The West Wing "
September 8, 2000
"A lot of criticism we've heard is, "How could the Secret Service let him be so vulnerable?'. ...That's answered in the story. The first episodes of the season (beginning Oct. 4) are a two-parter on the ramifications of the shooting ... that's all I can tell you." - Martin Sheen
by Eric Deggans
September 10, 2000
St. Petersburg Times
"I'm really telling two stories here the aftermath of when someone tries to assassinate a President and how the entire Bartlet staff came together three years ago." He [Aaron Sorkin] then comments that NBC made them film two 1-hour episodes instead of a 2-hour episode...so that "half way through the credits will start to roll, and where we usually have "'Last week, on The West Wing..' we should have 'Seven minutes ago, on The West Wing..."
Posted at TheWestWing@egroups.com
September 26, 2000
Notes from the Harvard Law School Forum with Aaron Sorkin
So we'll see how Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer), Press Secretary C.J. Cregg (Allision Janney), Communications Director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) and the rest assembled for Bartlet's initial presidential election run.
"It's sort of like the cattle drive in old Western movies," said Schlamme, "where we see how all the cowboys came together."
"Bullets pump new energy into 'West Wing' storyline"
by Mike Duffy
October 1, 2000
Detroit Free Press
In the highly rated Oct. 4 season premiere, a flashback to three years ago showed White House aide Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) talking on a Verizon pay phone in New York City.
The catch? Verizon didn't operate any telephones on the streets of Gotham back then. In fact, until June of this year, Verizon (born of a merger between communication behemoths Bell Atlantic and GTE) didn't even exist.
The flubs don't end there. In another scene from the past -- in which press secretary C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) gets fired from her job as a Hollywood publicist -- you can spy a copy of EW with "Shaft" star Samuel L. Jackson on the cover. We love a good plug, but don't they know that issue came out in June 2000? A spokesperson for the show said they never noticed the gaffes. Guess that's their attempt at spin control.
by Joshua Rich
October 18, 2000
Delta Air Lines generally doesn't approve of placement. "For us, there's not a lot of gain there," said spokeswoman Tracey Bowen. "We often get requests, but we really don't accept."
One recent exception: The airline allowed producers to shoot part of NBC's "West Wing" in a Delta terminal. "It's a hit show, and obviously that helps," Bowen said. She added producers can't use Delta's image without permission.
"Coke leads push to place products in movies, TV"
by Scott Leith
October 29, 2000
She [Anna Deveare Smith] never got to see the Situation Room, where her character typically interacts with President Bartlet on The West Wing. But she knows Condoleeza Rice, President Bush's national security advisor -- Rice was Smith's provost at Stanford University -- and she talked to former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger about her role.
"He was very generous," Smith says. "He said, basically, 'You've got to try to know everything. And you're overworked. Call your friends up once you get the job and say, "Look, you won't hear from me for four years." You're overworked, but on the other hand, you have to be the most alert person in the room. You could have been working for 12 hours, but you've got to feel like it's first thing in the morning.' "
"'West Wing' actress gets proof she's convincing"
by Marc D. Allan
March 14, 2002
During commentary on the second episode, Schlamme praises Sorkin's ability to write tragic scenes that also incorporate humor. Sheen says that quality is something everyone misses about not having Sorkin on the show anymore. So apparently even Sheen thinks "West Wing" isn't as good as it once was.
by Jen Chaney
May 11, 2004
One critic who sensed some underlining sexual tension between C.J. and Toby over the years wondered if they could eventually hook up.
"I think there always has been something between C.J. and Toby that has never been fully realized," said Janney, adding that Toby brought C.J. to the White House.
"A vote for C.J. as 'West Wing' chief"
by Alan Pergament
November 10, 2004